05 January 2006
Description: Sri lanka Tall Ambakelle
Click on the pictures to enlarge them !
From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho
Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0
FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2
Sri Lanka Tall Ambakelle
In Sri Lankan tradition, the coconut palm is known as the “tree of a hundred uses”. The oval photograph opposite shows one such use, which is religious and festive. The variety described here is not a traditional coconut type. It is a variety improved by Sri Lankan researchers, and known in that country as CRIC 60. Since the 1960s, CRIC 60 has acquired world renown for its productivity and drought resistance. It is produced in the Ambakelle seed garden.
In Côte d'Ivoire, CRIC 60 starts flowering, on average, slightly before 6 years after planting. It starts bearing at 7 years, with 24 fruits per palm per year on average. From 8 to 12 years, production fluctuates between 40 and 50 fruits per palm per year; it then continues to increase, reaching 76 and 102 fruits at 16 and 17 years respectively. The fruits weigh 1,349 g and contain a nut weighing 827 g on average; once dried, the 436 g kernel gives around 270 g of fairly oil-rich copra.
Controversy over the type of variety to be disseminated: hybrid or Tall coconuts? has raged in Sri Lanka, when a new hybrid between the Green Dwarf and the Sri Lanka Tall was distributed under the name CRIC 65. Farmers, who have only cultivated Tall coconut palms for centuries, did not take at all kindly to this new hybrid variety. According to them, the husk fibres of the hybrids did not have exactly the same characteristics; the wood was of poorer quality. The flavour of the meat was also less pleasant. However, in terms of yields expressed as the number of nuts or as meat weight, hybrid CRIC65 was shown by experimental results to be better than the improved Tall CRIC 60. Its superiority is particularly expressed in the first 12 years and then the difference fades and disappears. However, the first 12 years are clearly decisive for the profitability of a coconut planting.
In the 1990s, Sri Lankan researchers designed an original experiment intended to select coconut palms with greater drought resistance. Embryos were removed from seednuts of variety CRIC 60 and transferred to test tubes containing culture media with high concentrations of salts supposed to reproduce an artificial drought stress. The few embryos that survived were grown and removed from the tubes. Some have reached the stage of adult coconut palms, which are currently being assessed for their drought resistance. In 2004, Ten accessions of SLT02 representing more than 2,500 living palms were conserved in world coconut collections. This variety has been exported from Sri Lanka to Côte d'Ivoire, India, Jamaica, Thailand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.